At the beginning of every school year, I search for ideas on what to pack for my kids' school lunch.
I look at pictures of beautiful bento boxes with Hello Kitty-looking rice packs. I get inspired by the teriyaki, sesame chicken sticks and imagine my ultra picky daughter getting excited by vegetables (that she's never eaten) arranged to look like the scene of a magical forest. I muse: she'll definitely eat a carrot if she thinks it's the trunk of a fairy oak tree! Then reality hits. And I know I am NEVER GOING TO WAKE UP EARLY ENOUGH to make these culinary masterpieces for my children - I don't care how beautiful they look. Plus, who the hell am I kidding? Alexandra wouldn't eat a raw carrot even if it promised to take her to meet the Queen of a magical fairy land. Carrots are venomous! Any 5-year old worth her salt could tell you that!
So I -- the nutritionist -- face exactly the same challenges that all mothers face at this time of year. Trust me, I've tried disguising veggies and quinoa into mini pancakes. I've tried making small meatballs. I've tried omelette sandwiches. I've tried pasta in a thermos to keep it warm (gorgeous gluten-free pasta with my grandmother's superfood tomato sauce). But last year, this beautiful pasta came back whole because it was warm and they didn't have time to eat it after it cooled down. Then I tried to send the pasta cold -- but they didn't eat it because it was cold.
OH MY GOODNESS!!!! JUST FRIKIN EAT IT!!!!
The whole drama surrounding school lunches just makes me want to swear and cry.
But over the course of the next few posts, I'm going share with you a few tips and recipes and that have a good hit rate with my kids. Not too many - because otherwise, you won't come to my seminar on Sept 6th. And I WOULD REALLY LOVE TO SEE YOU THERE.
All attendees will get a copy of Thrive's "ZERO SICK DAYS" Survivor Guide to the school year. It's going to include some great breakfast, lunch and snack recipes. Plus, my tried and tested natural elixirs for sore throats and coughs. REDWOOD HEALTH is offering 20% their professional grade line of probiotics and fish oils. I can't say how grateful and excited I am about that because we all know how expensive high quality supplements can be, especially here in Hong Kong . And I don't want to jinx it - but I'm working on a few more offers with some other amazing HK Moms in the health & wellness space to make sure you get this year off to the best start possible!
In the meantime, here's my shopping list for this week's school lunches:
- Ezekiel sprouted bread
- hormone-free, shaved chicken breast
- organic eggs
- cherry tomatoes
- yellow peppers
- grain-free, sugar-free muffins (click here for recipe)
- kiwis (not for my youngest. These are also poisonous)
- roasted sea weed sheets
And I'm sorry! It's just going to have to be enough that I'm spending a fortune on organic fruits & veggies and hormone-free, free range protein. I have no time or inclination to get creative AT 7AM IN THE MORNING.
I love my kids. So I give them the highest quality produce I can.
That's my focus. Going beyond that and trying to make 5 different gourmet lunch menus for each day of the week just makes me crazy.
So, I choose quality over quantity. Boring over magical. Sticks over tree trunks.
Hope that helps this Sunday evening! And hey - if you've got some awesome school lunch ideas, please share them on my FB group "Thrive Nutrition Group". I'll give you the nutrition lo-down on your recipes -- and believe me!
You'll be so amazed at how great a job you're doing already.